November / December 2003  Volume 29, Issue 8
ABA Law Pracice Management Magazine, November/December 2003 Issue
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Profitable Practices
Strategic Planning: Are Law Firms’ Prognostications Practical?

Just how far into the future should the average lawyer be expected to see? When it comes to embarking on a strategic planning exercise, our vision can be sorely tested. Traditionally, a five-year strategy has been considered de rigeur. But now some experts tell us the days of the five-year plan are a thing of the past. The distant past. Things move too quickly in our turbo- charged world to allow anticipation of anything that far out. In fact, many of us have difficulty looking past this week’s crises to next Monday night’s football game.

Altman Weil, the international law firm management consulting firm, was curious about the planning horizons law firms are using today. So it raised the question in a poll on its Web site. Well over half of respondents say their planning horizon is three years or less. Think about it. Are you being realistic in your business planning?

Question: Strategic planning is by its nature forward-looking and longer term. With the world moving faster these days, some firms have reduced the planning horizon they use and plan more frequently. What is the planning horizon used by your firm or law department?

Results for 2/4/03 to 10/10/03
1 year or less 29.03%
2-3 years 29.03%
3-4 years 16.13%
5 or more years 16.13%
None (We don't plan!) 9.68%



Source: Altman Weil, Inc., online poll. Take a look at the results of other interesting online polls at